Okay, this is the first one. I actually wrote this before the episode aired: based on a seven second preview. Obsessive, yeah, I know. Anyway, it was sort of my best guess of how the episode could go, or rather, how it should go, even though I knew they would probably sweep the whole rescue thing under the rug. Isn't that why we write fan fiction?
The Life You Save
Approximately one thousand years later, the ambulance bearing Gibbs and Maddie sped away. His job was over and the adrenaline drained from his system. Tony's knees buckled and he dropped to the ground. Had it always been this cold?
"Sir?" An EMT appeared out of thin air. He thought they had all left or maybe that was because his vision had gone blurry. "Hey, we need another ambulance here! Stay with me, sir…"
Why was his heart racing? And why was it getting harder to breathe? He tried to loosen his tie, but the water had soaked into the silk. Great. Now he had a noose. He frantically clawed at the buttons of his shirt with numb fingers until gentle hands pulled them away. "Careful. Just relax, okay? The ambulance is on its way…"
"No," he said. He thought the ambulance had already come. He thought he remembered Gibbs and Maddie being loaded on the stretchers. Were they still lying on the ground beside him? He couldn't just be sitting here, half sprawled on the ground himself. Time to start another round of chest compressions. "No, I have to save them…"
"Look at me." The woman in scrubs knelt before him, and he saw her clearly for the first time. She looked a tiny bit like Kate. "They're on the way to the hospital right now, okay? You did the right thing. You did good. Just hang in there, buddy. Slow deep breaths."
Deep breaths. He could do that. Except for when he couldn't. His mounting panic and the stress on plague-damaged lungs were a vicious cycle. There were no blue lights this time but otherwise it was the same.
He was drowning.
And then the second ambulance was there, lights blazing, sirens cutting a swath through the frozen air. He found himself being loaded onto a stretcher and he was too weak to protest. An oxygen mask was immediately placed over his face and someone was cutting his sodden clothes off. Another suit ruined. He tried to pay attention to the din of voices, to snatch a phrase here and there. "…get him warm…crap, he's bleeding…drowning?"
Drowning. Tony tried to push himself up off the stretcher. The petite female EMT held him down with a hand on his shoulder. He wanted to tear off the mask, only now he was swaddled like a baby. But he had to know. "Are they okay? Gibbs and the girl?"
She exchanged a look with someone across from her, outside Tony's field of vision. "The doctors are doing everything they can," she said in measured tones.
"Not good enough" was what he tried to say, but all that came out was a fit of coughing. Really deep, bone-rattling coughs and this time Gibbs wasn't around to smack him on the back of the head.
"Agent DiNozzo?" Someone must have found his badge. "Are you all right?"
"Plague," he managed. "I've had the plague." The Kate-EMT sent up another look. You never get used to it. You'd think you would, but you don't. "Call Brad Pitt," he added before passing out.
Tony? Tony, listen to me... You listening?
I'm listening, Boss.
You will not die. You got that? I said, You. Will not. Die.
I gotcha, Boss.
The first thing Tony realized was that he wasn't cold any more. He liked that. And he couldn't really move, but that was okay. He shifted his head a little, and fell back asleep.
When he woke up again, it was night. The peaceful feeling, which he now realized was drugs, had ebbed somewhat. His shoulder hurt and his chest hurt. What on earth… oh, crap. "Gibbs," he said with a gasp.
"You were dreaming about Gibbs?" McGee appeared at his bedside with a wry smile. "That's just weird."
"Gibbs," he said again. There were enough drugs still coursing through his veins that it was hard to articulate the thought. He scrunched up his face in frustration.
"He's been asking about you," McGee said calmly. "He'll be all right. He regained consciousness while you were in surgery."
Now that, Tony would have remembered. "Surgery," he mumbled. This conversation was going to take all night if he couldn't string two words together.
"Did you know you got shot?" McGee produced an evidence jar, shook it so that the flattened slug inside clinked a little. "Took a round in the shoulder. The doctor said it didn't hit any arteries, and the cold water actually helped slow the bleeding."
Tony remembered, now. He remembered the pain tearing through with each chest compression he performed. But at the time, he hadn't allowed himself to think about it. And it wasn't like it was his first time being shot. "Where's Ziva?"
"Ziva's with Gibbs. We flipped a coin," he added with a grimace. "They're keeping him overnight for observation."
"He'll be okay?" Tony managed. He just wanted to hear the words again. He needed the reassurance like he needed oxygen.
McGee looked away, and Tony could have sworn he saw tears welling in the Probie's eyes. "He'll be okay."
The next time Tony woke up, it was morning, and Gibbs was there. Parked in a wheelchair, in a hospital gown, and with a very annoyed-looking nurse at his side. Tony smiled a little at the thought. You just don't say no to Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
"You look like crap," Tony told his boss.
"Same to you."
"How's Maddie?" He found it strange, thinking of this girl he didn't know from Adam. But he had pulled her from the water. Their paths had crossed long enough for that.
"She'll be fine," Gibbs said gently. "Her parents are here. They wanted to see you but I told them you needed your rest."
"Good idea," Tony said. The situation was weird enough without having to deal with parents. He squinted at the ceiling.
"You did good, DiNozzo," Gibbs added. He put his hand through the rails on the bed, squeezed Tony's undamaged shoulder. "Tony, you saved my life. Thank you."
Tony turned towards Gibbs. "I was just returning the favor, Boss."